Reviewed on Oct 19, 2021
Reviewed on Oct 16, 2021
Reviewed on Oct 18, 2021
Surrounded by vineyards, 11 narrow lakes offer summer watersports opportunities, wintry snow sports and great vacations year-round.
Created by glacial movement, the Finger Lakes of New York State resemble long scratches in the earth from the fingers of two giant hands. These 11 lakes in the western half of the state have many waterfalls, ravines, parks and cultural sites. Visit some of more than 100 wineries along the shores.
Overlooking southern Cayuga Lake in Ithaca is Cornell University, with a beautiful campus, outstanding free art museum and large garden, Cornell Plantation. Visit state parks along the lakeshore to hike up gorges to waterfalls and swim in natural pools created by damming small streams. See the birthplace of women’s suffrage in Seneca Falls.
Seneca Lake is the largest and deepest, with the quaint college town of Geneva at its northern tip. Visit Watkins Glen at the southern end of the lake to hike up a 2-mile (3-kilometer) gorge with stone steps and 19 waterfalls. Watch a car race at nearby Watkins Glen International Raceway or take your kids to the Farm Sanctuary to engage with rescued animals.
Keuka Lake is shaped like the letter Y. At the south end in Hammondsport, once identified as the coolest small town in America, is the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum. Near Penn Yan in the north, visit the Windmill, a large Saturday market featuring Amish furniture, baked goods and produce.
Sail on Canandaigua Lake. Play golf, ski or enjoy resort living at Bristol on the western shores. Explore the city of Canandaigua, which has interesting architecture in churches and government buildings and lovely blooms at Sonnenberg Gardens. Have a grape pie in Naples, just south of the lake.
Visit the Strong National Museum of Play, a museum filled with toys in nearby Rochester. See touring Broadway shows at the Merry-go-round Playhouse on Owasco Lake in Auburn.
Across the Finger Lakes region, fish, swim, sail, paddleboard, climb ravines, view waterfalls and harvest fruit at U-pick farms. Smell spring flowers, listen to summer concerts, enjoy colorful fall foliage and hike and cross-country ski on woodland trails.